It is January, the beginning of a new year! This is the time that people decide to set more goals both in their productivity and in their personal life. Next month is February. This is the time when people pretty much toss those goals out with the trash. Accomplishing the goals you set for yourself is the cornerstone to achieving pretty much anything that you desire in life. So you have to ask yourself–what is going on with the goals that fail?
When I lived in New York, I had a friend who ( on the occasions that she wanted to lose weight ) would ascribe to what I lovingly termed ” The Crackhead Diet “. At 7 pm I would meet her in the Manhattan for after work drinks and be shocked to learn that all she'd had to eat all day was one medium sized apple. You can only guess what happened in time. Three days later she would gorge herself on a large greasy burger from Five Guys. At that point her new diet would be balled up in a fist and tossed in the trash.
Goal setting can fail because you have over-committed yourself to an impossible goal. Your mother always told you to shoot for the moon and if you fail you will land on a star. When it comes to goal setting, however, that is not the best way to accomplish things. Setting a new lifestyle goal is pretty much a habit change. You, as a person, are defined by the things you do. In fact , many experts define personality as simply a collection of habits. With that line of thinking, I (Khia Jackson) can be most aptly described as the woman who: Goes to bed at insanely late hours, chews pen tops under stress, works out 4 times a week, talks on the phone approximately an hour a day, bails on dinner plans 50%, Buys new hair products every 3 months…and on and on. You have a similar set of habits that make up your life, and you have unconsciously committed yourself to these goals for decades. So when you set a goal to make that change to wake up 45 minutes earlier to improve your productivity, you are actually attempting to change a part of yourself that may have been carved into your psyche for years. So give yourself a break.
So how DO you go about accomplishing goals? I‘m so glad you asked!
1) Set Softer Goals:The trick to formulating new habits is not to overwhelm yourself. Envision your ultimate goal and set that aside. Then set micro-goals that will ultimately lead you to where you want to go. If your goal is get a killer body, studies actually show that your brain responds better to setting the goal to get IN the gym rather than the overwhelming task of ‘getting abs of steel in a month'. Exercising non-stop to go from from regular to ripped in just one is month is the kind of radical character shift that you brain will reject. So break it down and tackle it one step at a time. The universal law is that anything you consistently stick to will eventually yield massive results. Start small, stay dedicated and watch your results flourish.
2) Commit Don't Quit: Keep doing what you set out to do. You may feel like an idiot going to the gym and then walking out 15 minutes later without ever having seen a bead of sweat, but KEEP GOING. First you will make it to the gym. Eventually, the machines will get less intimidating. Eventually you will try one. Next thing you know, you will have a regimen. Keep it up and the persistent-new-you will be buying crop tops in no time. New habits are developed by making that effort each and every time. In your effort, the actual habit of working out in the gym will feel more and more natural. Eventually it will feel weird not o go work out.
3) Do NOT Beat Yourself Up. Of course you're going to fail at times. You may even fail often. Failure is just part of the process of learning something new. Babies who try to walk fall down all the time without taking it to heart. Could you imagine a fallen infant sitting there in their pampers and bashing themselves with defeatist inner dialogue: “Oh my god, I'm the worst baby in the world, I can't believe I can't even walk yet. i SUCK!!” A neurotic baby like that would never make it to the kitchen table! Babies don't take a fall to mean anything more than they've fallen. No biggie. They get get back up and try again. Expect to fail and take it in stride. No one goal is ever as important as turning yourself into the kind of person who accomplishes that goal as a matter of course.
So whatever happened to my friend? Well she tried a different approach. She would go on a raw food diet for 3-5 days to cleanse her system. She did this off and on for about six months. She would drop the weight look fabulous with glowing skin then put a little back on. Eventually eating more healthily started to feel like a part of her and she was inspired to go vegan for a month. She extended that to 3 months. After a pressure free regimen of slowly adjusting her habits she eventually became a vegan. No more burgers for her! …. That poor thing.
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